Overland Road Transportation: Picking Between Road and Rail

May 20, 2020 4:58 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

If you’re in need of freight transportation services, you will have several modes of transportation available, including air, sea, road and rail. The most popular modes used are road and rail, as most people do not require anything other than ground transport.

So, when focusing on road and rail, it’s important to understand the differences between the two and the factors you should consider in making your selection. Here is a quick overview of what you should think about when picking between road and rail freight in Houston, TX.

Road: Pros and cons

Shipping via road allows you to deliver freight quickly and according to a set schedule. It is generally a very cost-effective, economical service, especially if you only need to ship the freight relatively short distances, but you can also use it for long-haul shipping and for shipping over the borders into Canada or Mexico.

Road shipping also frequently allows you to provide full door-to-door movement, meaning the shippers will pick up your item at your door and deliver it all the way to the door of your recipient. The service also makes it easier for you to track cargo movement via GPS and satellite.

On the down side, road shipping is slower than rail over long distances, and the longer the distance becomes, the less cost-effective of a solution it is. It also is less environmentally friendly than rail—not only does it cost more because you burn more energy, but it also takes a harsher toll on the environment.

There are additional limitations to road shipping that do not exist for rail. The weather and road conditions play a much bigger factor for road shipping than rail shipping, and there are limitations to cargo size and weights that can differ from state to state, adding some complexity to the process of planning your shipping.

Rail: Pros and cons

Rail is considered an efficient option for long-distance transport because trains will burn less fuel per ton mile than road vehicles. Trains are able to carry much more freight at once, which, combined with the greater fuel efficiency, makes long-distance movement quicker as well as faster.

There are some drawbacks to train shipping, though. There may be additional costs for moving containers from the rail head to the final destination, as you may still have to use road freight shipping to accomplish this. It is occasionally necessary to change train operators at borders, which may result in delays at border crossings. If you only need to move the freight short distances, rail isn’t a particularly economically sensible option. Finally, unusual types of cargo may have some difficulty in being moved in normal rail wagons.

These are just a few of the considerations you should keep in mind when considering the kind of shipping you’ll use for your freight and picking between road and rail freight in Houston, TX. For more information about the services we provide and their benefits, we encourage you to contact Pro Delivery LLC today with any questions.

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